Prolonged sleep deprivation induces a cytokine-storm-like syndrome in mammals

Cell. 2023 Dec 7;186(25):5500-5516.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.10.025. Epub 2023 Nov 27.


Most animals require sleep, and sleep loss induces serious pathophysiological consequences, including death. Previous experimental approaches for investigating sleep impacts in mice have been unable to persistently deprive animals of both rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS). Here, we report a "curling prevention by water" paradigm wherein mice remain awake 96% of the time. After 4 days of exposure, mice exhibit severe inflammation, and approximately 80% die. Sleep deprivation increases levels of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) in the brain, and we found that elevated PGD2 efflux across the blood-brain-barrier-mediated by ATP-binding cassette subfamily C4 transporter-induces both accumulation of circulating neutrophils and a cytokine-storm-like syndrome. Experimental disruption of the PGD2/DP1 axis dramatically reduced sleep-deprivation-induced inflammation. Thus, our study reveals that sleep-related changes in PGD2 in the central nervous system drive profound pathological consequences in the peripheral immune system.

Keywords: efflux; inflammation; prostaglandin D(2); sleep; sleep deprivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclonic Storms
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mice
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Prostaglandin D2
  • Rats
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Deprivation* / genetics
  • Sleep Deprivation* / metabolism
  • Syndrome


  • Cytokines
  • Prostaglandin D2